Evidence based programmes
A growing body of research in the social and behavioural sciences has shown that certain approaches and strategies, developed into programmes, can positively impact on social problems such as a breakdown in family relationships, crime and anti-social behaviour.
An important element of such programmes is that they are evidence-based, ie. they have been tested in randomised, control trials. This means that any observed differences in outcomes between groups are the result of the programme itself and not any other factors.
Programmes are supported with manuals, which detail how it should be delivered.
We are market leaders in evidence-based programmes, including:
We have amassed experience in delivery of a range of evidence based programmes including but not limited to those listed in DfE Prospectus.
As market drivers we are leading the way in innovation. We are delivering and developing our own evidence based programme, Family Partners. Also, in late 2012 the Cabinet Office unveiled Action for Children as the chosen service provider running Multi Systemic Therapy in Essex, funded by a Social Impact Bond, the first contract of its kind in the children's sector.
Action for Children has strong links with partners interested in funding for social benefit. We have worked with organisations such as Social Finance, and in partnership with Bridges Ventures Social Enterprise Fund, and The Social Investment Business.
We are actively experienced in creating models for Local Authorities that work targeting the maximum impact for the nominated cost.
We work closely with other experts in the field such as the Social research Unit at Dartington to continually develop our services and maintain our reputation as innovators in children's services.
If you are interested in working with us, or would like more information on our full range of programmes, please contact us.
Multi-systemic therapy (MST) involves working closely with families, providing intensive therapy that focuses on problem solving. It aims to give parents problem-solving skills and empowers them to deal with their problems. Families recieve 24-hour support from a therapist, and a range of agencies work in partnership to support them over three to five months.
MST has a proven track record in supporting families, with many positive outcomes. Families tend to finish treatment programmes, with resultant improvements in family relationships, and reduced criminal activity, for example.
In late 2012 , the Cabinet Office chose Action for Children as the service provider to run MST programmes in Essex. Funded by a social bond contract, through Bridges Ventures Social Entrepreneurs Fund, it is the first contract of its kind in the children's sector. It has enabled us to target the most vulnerable families in Essex.
Multi-dimensional treatment foster care
The aim of a multi-dimensional treatment foster care (MTFC) programme is to decrease problem behaviour and restore developmentally appropriate behaviour in children and young people. It does this through close supervision, setting boundaries and predictable consequences for breaking rules, a supporive relationship with at least one mentoring adult as well as limiting contact with peers in similar circumstances.
MTFC has a proven track record for effectiveness and includes, for example, support for foster parents, family therapy for biological parents, and skills training and supportive therapy for young people.
Since 2005, the average success rates of our MTFC programmes has been 75 to 85 per cent. In 2011, our Hampshire service showed a 79 per cent graduation rate. Outcomes included a decrease in offending, engagement in education, and a return to the birth family and mainstream foster care.
More recently, we successfully won a social impact bond for the provision of MTFC programmes in Manchester, valued over £8m over five years.
Our research shows that neglected children do not get the help they need early enough. In response to this, we set up the Action for Children Family Partners programme. Our staff work with the whole family where children may be at risk of neglect, and they intervene before serious issues develop.
A 12-month evaluation of our pilot programme, based at Stourbridge Children and Family Centre, showed that families valued the practical support that Family Partners offered at mealtimes and bedtimes, both known to be stressful times.
We have a strong evidence that our Family Partners programme has been successful in identifying families early and intervening intensively to prevent neglect and associated poor outcomes for children. In a sample of 25 children, whose families recived intensive support during the pilot:
- 72% experinced an improvement in their emotional well being.
- 68% saw indicators of neglect addressed and concerns about the child reduced.
- 56% of children were assessed as feeling safer within their family network.
Work is now underway with the Social Research Unit at Dartington to clearly define the Family Partner model and create a manual for the programme. Following this phase of the work, we are aiming to establish it as an evidence-based programme.